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Tuesday, March 31

US Government to allow itself to go through laptops and players...




Obama picks RIAA's favorite lawyer for a top Justice post

Obama administration sides with RIAA in P2P suit


anybody else feeling a bit nervous about our newly elected Obama Administration?

Happy Birthday Christopher (THE KING!) Walken

66 years old today

Song -- WEAPON OF CHOICE by Fatboy Slim


Police: Man caught 'stooling' around (Story from Boston.com)






Newark, Ohio....
Authorities in Ohio say a man has been charged with drunken driving after crashing his motorized bar stool. Police in Newark, 30 miles east of Columbus, say when they responded to a report of a crash with injuries on March 4, they found a man who had wrecked a bar stool powered by a deconstructed lawn mower.

Twenty-eight-year Kile Wygle was hospitalized for minor injuries. Police say he was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated after he told an officer at the hospital that he had consumed 15 beers. Wygle told police his motorized bar stool can go up to 38 mph.

Wygle has pleaded not guilty and has requested a jury trial.



and for everything else, there's MasterCard......

Food Warning. Again.

It would be nice if the US had a system that assured food safety.
FDA says to avoid pistachios amid salmonella scare

Monday, March 30

so you wanna buy a REO

I posted here once previously about looking for a house. Back last fall. I came to terms with the fact, years ago, that I'd never be able to afford to buy in the city where I work, or in any of the immediately neighboring cities. It's a no-win situation all around unless one is bringing in six figures with their spouse or partner or roommate or whomever. Property values do not plummet enough around these parts, and property taxes are quite high.

So I looked further afield, at places accessible by public transportation, and struck gold. I settled on a small-ish city up on the north bay (SF Bay Area), found a house built in the 1950s with huge front and back yards, saw it for the beautiful blank slate it was, and made an offer. And things swiftly devolved into a comedy of errors, all around.

Because the situation never deteriorated to a point where I felt the process was completely futile and fruitless, I persisted, and managed to prevail.

Here's a laundry list of things which made the process a bigger and slower challenge than was necessary. Consider this a cautionary example of what can happen if you are in a position to take advantage of the situation and finally buy property, and go with a foreclosure (because let's face it, this is by and large what's for sale right now and the sooner these properties are bought up and lived in, the better for the communities who are not seeing those property taxes as long as the properties sit empty; more pontificating on this topic to come at a later date, possibly):

1. the property passed between three banks' hands while I was purchasing it (verily, the sellers were playing a game of hot potato with it)

2. the lenders are overworked and only a few in CA still underwrite 95% conforming, and those are apparently even more overworked; remember, when lenders go tits up, that's fewer people to underwrite and service loans

3. the listing agents who are charged with selling all of these hot potatoes can't seem to find their asses with both hands and have little idea what the properties look like inside, much less what is happening to them from the time they're slapped up on all the real estate listings to when people actually request to see their insides (e.g. "what do you mean, the windows are broken? that's not OUR responsibility"); a lot of this is related to how the banks holding the homes go about unloading them - instead of giving 10 properties to 10 different agents, it's 'here ya go, sell these 10 for us', or 'here's a list of 100 properties in your area, make 'em sell'. It's a windfall for the agents doing the selling, but makes for craptastic customer service and inefficiency.

4. the listing agent did not understand that de-winterizing is more than having the water switched on, and having PG&E come out to switch on the electrical and the gas - and I have water damage in the hallway to prove that; exacerbating this problem is my agent was herself unclear on de-winterizing and was not explicit about what needed to be done prior to the property inspection, and was so worried about pissing off the listing agent that certain things were not taken care of in the order they ought to have been

5. the loan consultant flaked initially and this hung me up for about a month on clearing the loan contingency, all told, because of the overworked loan people who are damn lucky to still have jobs (slight snark there)

6. the lender changed in the middle of the loan underwriting, and I can expect it to change again, before my mortgage payment on May 1st (they told me this, in fact - 'yeah, we are going to sell your loan before you even make your first payment, HAHAHAHAHAHA')

7. update: my loan servicer is going to be Countrywide! now why does that name sound familiar, hmmmm...

8. my agent has handled only a few REO sales, and was not as versed in this as the more senior realtors are, but... hell's bells, most of the senior realtors are learning a lot in this market, too

9. two lenders approved me before it finally went to underwriting

10. the final loan underwriter emailed my docs to an email addy at the title company which did not exist, a mistake that could have been avoided had s/he proofread or used spell-check or some kind of automatic correcting tool - which delayed my loan docs signing by a couple days

11. the ding-dong escrow company did not bother to supply me or the mortgage consultant with wire transfer information until we requested it; helllllooooo, do you guys want your farking down payment or not?

12. the ding-dong escrow company supplied us with incomplete wire transfer information, which led to another delay

13. Hells Fargo Bank, who I plan to ditch for a credit union in a few months, does not seem to train its employees in how to complete wire transfers - maybe a room full of 100 chimps w/ typewriters would have been more productive; in fact, the day before Christmas Eve, the teller at the branch I use looked like I was asking her to burp the alphabet, when I told her I needed a cashier's check payable to ____ Escrow Company, to cover my earnest deposit

(13 points. Because I finally closed escrow on Friday the 13th.)

Oh, and leading up to all of this, I had to change loan types, just to be able to purchase the damn house.

I'm relieved the process has completed itself, needless to say. Looking back at December through February (my offer was accepted in December, but you'd never guess that, huh?), it is kind of miraculous I slept at all and didn't have to up my blood pressure meds.

The plug almost got pulled at the last minute. The listing agent made ominous noises about it being pulled if we didn't cough up the funding docs ASAP, and it was just STUPID that late in the game to try to conduct business that way, but we had to take it seriously. The delays were because of all the freaking shift changes w/ the loan and the lender changing, but what really pisses me off in the end is that the seller was doing the same shit behind the scenes. It was American Home Mortgage who held the title, and then another lender, and then it was a third by the time docs were signed. And allllll of the addenda to extend the escrow date we filed were going into some black hole because the listing agent wouldn't keep anyone updated on what was going on. (This goes a ways to explain why the magical thing to ask your pushy lender to prevent/delay a foreclosure, is 'where are the fucking docs? who really holds the title?' They will not know, and it'll take quite a bit of digging for them to divine this. It was just three months for me, and if you figure one change in seller per month...)

Thanks to the moral support of many, I didn't go totally batshit crazy. Just partly. From time to time. I'm still swearing like a sailor when stressed, which is no fucking good and I need to fucking taper off with the fucking expletives. Gah.

Anyway, it's doable. Even in CA. Even on what most locals with a college edumacation consider a pittance, you can buy a house. And it's possible to cover your mortgage with part of just one paycheck, which is the ideal situation if you're doing this with a partner, should heaven forbid one of you become unemployed. Ultimately, I did this in order to be able to save way more over time because my mortgage is substantially less than rent was, and because it means I can grow my own food and live simpler. But I won't try to speak for everyone.

I'm debating on whether or not to post more about this. I know it's a touchy issue because buying one of these houses comes inevitably at someone else's expense, no matter the intentions of the buyer. It is also new territory for me, and so it is on my mind. My goal is to grow my own food, ultimately, do greywater, live entirely on solar rather than partly as I did in the apartment, raise chickens, build and use a solar oven, and be the neighborhood eccentric.

The cultural thrust has been that we all need to 'contribute' to the economy, and buying a house definitely fits that bill. But when I think about that, it becomes clear I'm going to turn that on its ear. I'll happily pay property taxes, because these mean that entitlements like emergency services and public libraries will remain in business, and rightfully so. But aside from some shopping trips for building materials I have to buy new, I'm planning to withdraw even further from the economy and do what needs to be done in order to simplify further. Interesting conundrum there.

Time To Put Human Values Ahead of Shareholder Values

The above recommendation comes from Patrick Harvie, Green MSP for Glasgow.

“Only when we recognise that the economy must exist within the limits laid down by ecology will we have the chance of a meaningful economic recovery, rather than futile attempts to resurrect the old economy's corpse with more of the same medicine.”

These issues are being covered by Rob Edwards,, a freelance journalist specialising in environmental issues. He is also the Environment Editor for Scotland's Independent Newspaper The Sunday Herald

FINALLY...... someone (in journalism) who speaks my mind completely.

PRAISE THE LORD AND (don't) PASS THE AMMUNITION (cause you won't be able to find any)

Thank you Mr. Edwards - you just saved me a lot of time today. I'm trying to put together a 2 minute WAKE THE HELL UP speech to the town council and BOE for this evening's meeting about the looming cuts that our school system will be facing. I am so sick and tired of everyone barking up the wrong tree here. I am so sick of the political posturing, bickering, and utter waste of time trying to "fix" this world wide mess we are in.

I was going to start my rant with the NCLB nonsense that has a lot to do with the difficulties our BOE is facing. I want to see a show of hands by those who might know anything about this legislation and who wrote it. I am curious how many "officials" know about one of its authors. You guys know who I'm talking about -- Margaret Spellings -- She was one of the principal proponents of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Houston in 1979.

Before her appointment to George W. Bush's presidential administration, Spellings was the political director for Bush's first gubernatorial campaign in 1994, and later became a senior advisor to Bush during his term as Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000.

Despite the fact that she had never been a teacher or school administrator, Spellings was nominated to the post of the Secretary of Education by George W. Bush on November 17, 2004.


Our town and most others will never be able to fix things unless they open their eyes to the hidden agenda behind NCLB

This town meeting tonight is also for residents to come and share their concerns about the economy. There is no way I'm going to be able to do that in the remaining one minute I will have. But thanks to Mr. Edwards' most recent column -- Leading adviser's warning to ministers: the problem's not bankers, it's society -- I'm gonna just go for it and read it IN FULL as quickly as I can:

THE ECONOMIC system is broken, and attempts by governments to fix it by kick-starting growth and consumerism are "delusional" and "pathological", the Westminster and Holyrood governments will be warned by their own advisers this week.

A ground-breaking report by the leading environmental advisers to First Minister Alex Salmond and Prime Minister Gordon Brown will deliver a damning verdict on capitalism and demand a radical shift to a fairer, more sustainable society.

The report has been compiled by the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), a group of 19 experts chaired by Jonathon Porritt which advises Salmond and Brown on environmental issues. Entitled Prosperity without Growth?, it is to be published tomorrow.

The pursuit of economic growth, founded on the increasing consumption of material goods, has failed to bring social justice, prosperity or happiness, the report says.

"The narrow pursuit of growth represents a horrible distortion of the common good and of underlying human values," the report concludes. "The market was not undone by rogue individuals or the turning of a blind eye by incompetent regulators. It was undone by growth itself."

The report presents a fundamental challenge to the economic policies being pursued in London and Edinburgh, raising questions about some of the basic tenets of modern capitalism. We are living in an "age of irresponsibility", it says.

"Questioning growth is deemed to be the act of lunatics, idealists and revolutionaries, but question it we must," says Tim Jackson, a professor at Surrey University and the SDC's leading economics expert.

"The myth of growth has failed us. It has failed, spectacularly, in its own terms, to provide economic stability and secure people's livelihoods."

According to the report, inequality is higher in industrialised nations than it was 20 years ago. The rich have got richer, but the poor have remained poor, with wealth only trickling to a "lucky few".

The environmental consequences have been "disastrous", the SDC says. In the last 25 years the global economy has doubled, leaving 60% of the world's natural ecosystems degraded and threatening "catastrophic" climate change.

The economy is "fundamentally broken", argues Jackson. "A return to business as usual is not an option. Prosperity for the few founded on ecological destruction and persistent social injustice is no foundation for a civilised society."

A society founded on the "relentless pursuit of novelty" undermines social well-being. "The economy itself is dependent on consumption growth for its very survival," the report says. Market economics have to be questioned and consumerism has to be reversed, the report urges.

It recommends 12 steps to a sustainable economy, such as tackling inequality, changing work patterns and respecting ecological limits.

In Scotland the SDC is urging ministers to invest in infrastructure that creates low-carbon communities. "Rather than build more roads for more cars, the government must make it easier to use rail and buses, cycle or walk," it says.

Jan Bebbington, the SDC's vice-chair and an accounting professor at St Andrews University, said: "The Scottish government must stop thinking the pursuit of economic growth, no matter how sustainable the growth is labelled, is going to make Scotland flourish almost as a matter of course."

But the Scottish Government stressed its purpose was "sustainable economic growth". A spokesman added: "To suggest we stop trying to grow our economy, when we can see the effects of the recession around Scotland, is completely wrong."

Sustainability was a "fundamental aspect" of economic policy, he argued. "That's why we have set out actions to create thousands of jobs in sustainable industries that harness Scotland's natural advantages."

The Confederation of British Industry in Scotland also gave the report's findings a cool reception. "The dismal picture portrayed by the SDC is not one we recognise," said CBI Scotland's David Lonsdale.

But Green MSP, Patrick Harvie said: "We have long argued for a vision of the economy which puts human values above shareholder value, and I'm delighted that the SDC is saying the same thing."


I'm looking forward to the report that is coming out today. If anybody comes across it, please leave the link in the comment section.

A tip of the hat to Indigus for bringing this to my attention.

And if per chance they haven't taken the microphone away from me at this point, I'm going to go all "Howard Beale" on the audience, because until they unplug themselves and their children, it's all pointless.

We've been screaming for years "I'm not going to take it anymore". It's time we change that statement a tad.....

I'm mad as hell and I'm not buying it anymore...

Just STOP BUYING CRAP (including most of the shit on our supermarket shelves -- It is truly unfit to eat.)

It's simple.

It's back to basics time

or else........

(don't forget -- there's no more ammo -- and there's a very good reason why)

We can bring it ALL to a screeching halt very peacefully.

Let's get to work.

Sunday, March 29

Hey It's A Start

THINK PROGRESS: Spanish court agrees to consider criminal case against former Bush administration officials.
A Spanish court “has agreed to consider opening a criminal case against six former Bush administration officials…over allegations they gave legal cover for torture at Guantanamo Bay.” The officials include former attorney general Alberto Gonzales, former undersecretary of defense for policy Douglas Feith, former Cheney chief of staff David Addington, Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee, and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes. The AP has more details on the case:

  • Spanish law allows courts to reach beyond national borders in cases of torture or war crimes under a doctrine of universal justice, though the government has recently said it hopes to limit the scope of the legal process. […]

  • Human rights lawyers brought the case before leading anti-terror judge Baltasar Garzon, who agreed to send it on to prosecutors to decide whether it had merit, Gonzalo Boye, one of the lawyers who brought the charges, told The Associated Press. […]

  • The judge’s decision to send the case against the American officials to prosecutors means it will proceed, at least for now. Prosecutors must now decide whether to recommend a full-blown investigation, though Garzon is not bound by their decision.

Friday, March 27

New Drug Laws on the Horizon?

Sen Webb is getting ready to introduce major legislation to drastically alter US drug laws. He called the US criminal justice system "a national disgrace." Webb noted that the US has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's prisoners! The president is against legalizing marijuana however.

Can you imagine how much money was wasted last year arresting 800,000 non violent people on marijuana charges? How many more people who have drug addictions were thrown into prison when they should have gone to drug treatment programs instead? What this country and particularly NYS ought to concentrate on are actual criminals and not waste billions in a drug war that turns citizens into criminals.

I was very happy to read this story in the NY Times yesterday Albany Reaches Deal to Repeal ’70s Drug Laws Gov Paterson and NY legislators have agreed to dismantle much of what's left of the 1970's drug laws and expand drug treatment programs (which is indeed much cheaper than incarceration.) The NYS drug reformation would put into the judges hands the fate of the arrested person.

Thirty six years ago, on the way to a Jethro Tull concert a friend and I suddenly had our car searched by the narcs and part of a joint was found. We weren't even smoking it! We were immediately arrested and hauled off to jail after being processed and mocked by the cops. This was 4 hours before the advent of the Rockefeller Drug Laws which were the most unfair drug laws in the country. It was meant to stem the tide of heroin addiction in NYS but mostly just threw anyone caught with any drug into jail automatically. The morning after my arrest, the local paper listed all the kids who were arrested for pot the night before the strictest drug laws came into effect as if we were so darn lucky, had it been a few hours later, we'd all have stayed in jail and they'd have thrown away the key. Handily, our dads golfed with the judge and we were let go because we were off to college in a few days and luckily the new drug laws hadn't gone into effect... so who knows what would have happened.

Master Baiting the GOP

You really have to pity the Republicans in the House and Senate. You really do. President Obama's budget flies in the face of almost every tenet of the so-called "fiscal conservatives" on the Right, but up until yesterday they had exactly nothing to offer by way of contrast.

Well, yesterday the House GOP leadership, led by John "Tanned and Bland" Boehner, unveiled their plan. Unfortunately, it wasn't a plan, but a 19-page blueprint or outline for an alternative budget.

Reading it, you get the feeling for what Talleyrand said about the Bourbons - that they haven't forgotten anything, but haven't learned anything either.

Energy policy? Drill, baby, drill.

Tax policy? Simple - cut taxes to a top rate of 25% on anyone making more than $100,000 a year. That's lower than Bush wanted, and sure to gladden the heart of the wealthiest Americans. Now, I fully expect a lot of screeching from my coworkers, none of whom will ever make that amount in their lifetimes and will overlook the fact that their tax burden will only increase.

Oversight of the financial sector? Dead set against it. Let a million flowers bloom so that we may garland the tomb of Ayn Rand.

Bailouts? The "plan" is against it, but Boehner wouldn't commit to such a stand. He's a treasure - can't ask for water when he's thirsty. It's like the voters in his district electedBuridan's ass.

A sensible approach would have been to not rise to Obama's challenge, and instead offer amendments that would sensibly modify ...

But what am I talking about? The GOP hasn't been a bastion of common sense or restraint since maybe Barry Goldwater, and that was a hell of a long time ago.

So President Obama baited the GOP, and they fell for it. The "alternative budget blueprint" is nineteen pages of nothing but the same codswallop that got us into the current economic mess to start with.

What happens next?

The House GOP leadership stated that the details of the "alternative budget" will come out "next Wednesday."

Next Wednesday is April Fool's Day, for those of you keeping track.

Thursday, March 26

Can you say, adios...boys and girls?

From Mr. Ribbet’s Networkhood:




Good News, Gang!

Lassie rescued Timmy from the well!

Somewhere in the world kittens and puppies are being rescued from trees and pipes and ditches…

Somewhere in the world a very few people trying to make a difference are helping fight hunger…and poverty…and disease…

Somewhere, near Mr. Ribbet’s Networkhood, the mail is only being delivered with a smile, trolleys run on time and all’s well with Lady Aberlin and the world!


In the news today:

Flowers are bloomin'.
The hills ARE alive, with the sound of music.
June Cleaver just got a new gown to wear for breakfast.
Harriet Nelson got a birthday card from Ozzie.
John-Boy finally got his typewriter.
Baby Jessica is doing fine.
The Osmond’s are singing up a storm.
Lawrence Welk just appeared on Howdy Doody...with the King Family.
Wasn’t that song by Dennis Day just swell?
Captain Midnight and Sky King just rounded up a gang of bad guys.
Pat Boone just drank a lot of milk!
Hoppy just headed them off at the pass.
Every night my honey-lamb and I,
sit alone and talk,
and watch a hawk,
makin' lazy circles in the sky.
And I'll stay younger than spring.


And so, as I ride off into the sunset…

Go Adam!

Once again, Adam Lambert slayed on American Idol

Tuesday, March 24

NORML Breaking News: Marijuana Legalization Bills Introduced In Massachusetts!

A pair of bills — House Bill 2929 and Senate Bill 1801 — seeking to “tax and regulate the cannabis industry” have just been introduced in the Massachusetts legislature.

Section 2. The following conduct is hereby excepted from the provisions of, and shall not constitute a violation of chapter 94C of the general laws:

a. Possession or cultivation of cannabis by an adult for personal use.

b. Gratuitous distribution of cannabis to an adult. Transfer directly or indirectly related to or contemporaneous with the sale or tendering for sale of any goods, services or other things of value, shall be deemed not gratuitous.

c.Possession or distribution of cannabis under a valid license issued in accordance with this act.
.
.
.
Section 9. The authority shall impose and collect an excise upon sales at retail of cannabis. The rate of said excise is hereby established as follows:

Class C One hundred fifty dollar per ounce

Class B Two hundred dollars per ounce.

Class A Two hundred fifty dollars per ounce.

Subject to approval by the general court, such excise shall be adjusted by the authority from time to time as necessary to maximize the revenue derived therefrom, and to minimize the incentive for the sale of cannabis not in accordance with the provisions of this act.

Adults who possess or grow marijuana for personal use, or who engage in the non-profit transfer of cannabis, would not be subject to taxation under the law.



BEST VIDEO EVER! on the subject of legalization.....


From youtube video poster:
What's Wrong With the Drug War? Everyone has a stake in ending the war on drugs. Whether youre a parent concerned about protecting children from drug-related harm, a social justice advocate worried about racially marijuana disproportionate incarceration rates, an environmentalist seeking to protect the Amazon rainforest or a fiscally conservative taxpayer you have a stake in ending the drug war. U.S. federal, state and local governments have spent hundreds of billions of dollars trying to make America drug-free. Yet heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other illicit drugs are cheaper, purer and easier to get than ever before. Nearly half a million people are behind bars on drug charges - more than all of western Europe (with a bigger population) incarcerates for all offenses. The war on drugs has become a war on families, a war on public health and a war on our constitutional rights. Many of the problems the drug war purports to resolve are in fact caused by the drug war itself. So-called drug-related crime is a direct result of drug prohibition's distortion of immutable laws of supply and demand. Public health problems like HIV and Hepatitis C are all exacerbated by zero tolerance laws that restrict access to clean needles. The drug war is not the promoter of family values that some would have us believe. Children of inmates are at risk of educational failure, joblessness, addiction and delinquency. Drug abuse is bad, but the drug war is worse. Few public policies have compromised public health and undermined our fundamental civil liberties for so long and to such a degree as the war on drugs. The United States is now the world's largest jailer, imprisoning nearly half a million people for drug offenses alone. That's more people than Western Europe, with a bigger population, incarcerates for all offenses. Roughly 1.5 million people are arrested each year for drug law violations - 40% of them just for marijuana possession. People suffering from cancer, AIDS and other debilitating illnesses are regularly denied access to their medicine or even arrested and prosecuted for using medical marijuana. We can do better. california weed legal 2009 2010 2012 congress bill.



Anybody ever watch this movie?
The Union - The Business Behind Getting High
I understand it's a must watch

Another great source of info on this faux war on drugs:

Marijuana Treatment: What the Feds Won’t Tell You
But the latest federal report on drug treatment admissions, released this week, shows that the majority of those in treatment for alleged marijuana abuse or dependence didn’t seek treatment at all: They were forced into it.

That is, people — mostly young people — got arrested for marijuana, were offered treatment instead of jail and, understandably, chose treatment.



THERE OUGHT A BE A LAW AGAINST TWIGS AND SEEDS!!!

Same-sex marriage measure sails through Vt. Senate

YAY
By Adam Silverman, USA TODAY

The Vermont Senate on Monday evening overwhelmingly passed a bill legalizing gay marriage, making the state the first in the nation to take legislative rather than judicial steps toward granting marriage rights to same-sex couples.
The state Senate voted 26-4 in favor of the measure introduced by Democratic state Sen. John Campbell. The bill now goes to the state House, where Speaker Shap Smith, also a Democrat, predicted a majority would vote in favor of the "marriage equality" act. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to begin debating the bill Tuesday. A second vote in the state Senate also is expected Tuesday.

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, has refused to answer questions about whether he would sign the measure, veto it or allow it to become law without his signature. He has said that he believes marriage should be between one man and one woman.

Smith refused to say Monday whether he believed there were enough votes in the Democrat-controlled House to override a gubernatorial veto.

Vermont became the first state in the nation to enact civil unions for gay couples nearly 10 years ago, but advocates say the following decade has demonstrated that civil unions and marriage, as separate institutions, are unequal and relegate same-sex couples to second-class status.

If the marriage bill becomes Vermont law, the state would be the first in the country to enact gay marriage by a vote of the Legislature. Other states that permit homosexual couples to wed have done so by court order.

Debate in the state has been passionate and intense, especially as the proposal began moving through discussions in the Senate last week. A public hearing Wednesday at the Statehouse drew more than 1,000 people to Montpelier to voice opinions for and against the bill.

Turning Back the Hands of the Bush Administration in a Good Way

The FDA finally puts science first and leaves politics at the door.

FDA Ordered to Rethink Age Restriction for Plan B
Judge Says Politics Influenced Policy on the Contraceptive

A federal judge ordered the Food and Drug Administration yesterday to reconsider its 2006 decision to deny girls younger than 18 access to the morning-after pill Plan B without a prescription.

U.S. District Judge Edward R. Korman in New York instructed the agency to make Plan B available to 17-year-olds within 30 days and to review whether to make the emergency contraceptive available to all ages without a doctor's order.

In his 52-page decision, Korman repeatedly criticized the FDA's handling of the issue, agreeing with allegations in a lawsuit that the decision was "arbitrary and capricious" and influenced by "political and ideological" considerations imposed by the Bush administration. (continued)
Related
More Sex Less Contraception
The teen birthrate in the US is on the rise again. For the last 2 years, after years of it declining, it seems that abstinence only education is not key in helping teens delay sexual activity or improve contraception use. On the Bill Maher show Friday, it was mentioned that more teens in the US than India are becoming pregnant.

Here's the story.

Fox News Crosses the Line

Amanda Terkel at Think Progress was harassed and ambushed by O'Lielly's producer. O'Lielly was the one who intimated that what a woman wears or how much she drinks determines whether or not she should expect to be raped and Amanda merely called him on it. Now he thinks Amanda should apologize to rape victims ? Crazy. Here's the story.

See also
O’Reilly Attacks Me As A ‘Villain’ For Highlighting His Rape Comments

O’Reilly Lies: I Always Let People Explain Themselves Or Appear On My Show Before Harassing Them

Not sure you can possibly sit through this, but here is the O'Lielly segment.

Monday, March 23

and I thought MY pooch used to have some intense "doggie dreams"

Responsibility - v. 2009

What a mess!
You are due to address a group of critics concerning huge decisions you will make shortly about unimaginable financial losses. Decisions that will affect all of those under you but for a select few.

How do you get to be head of such a large contingent without understanding how things work? You would think that at least more than a rudimentary knowledge of finance would be some sort of prerequisite, or at least be around enough “experts” that you’d have some idea of what can and should be done. Maybe you should have paid more attention in class, you laugh to yourself.

Maybe it’s true that the public doesn’t know much and if you bullshit them just enough, you can pull this off and your friends will make out like bandits as they did the last eight years. Eight years with no regulation on Wall Street or anywhere, for that matter. It’s been a free-for-all grab bag for those with influence.

You have a financial group under you that is headed by someone you selected because the last guy really screwed up. You’d think you’d also need to have some competent people working for you to try to keep things from getting out of hand. But what happens when the very same people you select fall prey to greed and other influences? Who gets the blame? Them? Sounds good!
You need money to keep from going under, but from where? The tax payers, of course! They’re like Mikey in the old Life Cereal commercial. Tell them this plan will be for their long range benefit and that it will work but take time. They’ll believe anything. So will other boards and committees. And then you can do what you want.

For eight years that kind of mentality existed; longer, actually. But it became almost pandemic these last eight.

Now you’re in charge and the stuff is hitting the fan. “I didn’t do it! I inherited it from my predecessor!” Yeah. That’s true, but you have to do something about it. But what?

Well for starters, how about firing those who can’t put the right interests ahead of their own?” And that finance group…get rid of the one in charge, and his buddy...and maybe even the whole department. That’ll look good to everyone outside. Who cares who hired him or them. You have to correct this problem. The public is sure they’re not part of this solution. Get rid of them. But it’s tough because they helped you get where you are, yet if you want to keep your job and that nice retirement thing you better make a decision soon.

You don’t have much time. But never fear. Here comes the bailout! Things are different. It’s like being in a bad firefight. You promise God that if you come through this alive, you’ll become a priest or do good deeds for the rest of your life or whatever bit of rationalization you can think of at the time. But now...the bailout’s here and you’re safe…for the moment! Maybe you can put off that promise to whomever. HE knows you really didn’t mean it. You see others around you that have done the same as you and failed also and you think, “Why not? It’ll work out.” You and the others will get through this and the public can cry all they want but they’ll still pay for it. So when tough questions are asked, you deflect or distort or maybe even lie…but just a little. Even if someone reminds you of promises you made, you can justify those with a glib little quip by saying what’s one more priest anyway and you’ll atone for it in another way!
Whatever you decide, you can’t let them think you’re as incompetent as your predecessor so you have to do whatever it takes. Our business is pretty resilient. There’ll be some sacrifice and some suffering even if you or your friends aren’t those who suffer. But isn’t that a fact of life, that some have to suffer so others can lead?

Just about set for those critics. Ok, you have all your talking points ready for your appearance. Suit looks great; tie’s straight; hair’s ok; teeth brushed; you popped the Binaca; and notes in front of you just in case. You’re ready to walk into that room to confront those who would question your leadership; ready to tell them what kind of leader you’ll be.

You open the door…TV cameras running...
I’m sorry. Did you think I was talking about a Wall Street CEO or Banker?

So much for stimulating job growth

The same US government that is spending billions to keep millions of Americans from being laid off is contemplating buying cheaper condoms that ward off AIDS and HIV in poor countries around the world from China and South Korea instead of a company in Alabama that has been making condoms for the government for almost 40 years.

So much for the stimulus. Here's the story.

Saturday, March 21

State and Congressional Distric Resource For Well Being

After spending some time playing around with this chart, it's pretty easy to see why New Yorkers are such miserable creatures. Check to see how your state or congressional district is doing. Didn't know that so many of your neighbors are living in poverty did ya?

How's your well being?

I think this is an excellent resource to bookmark. It will help a lot when writing to your congress critters. You will have facts and statistics.

Friday, March 20

In accordance with hip-hop's longstanding fairness doctrine, Stephen Colbert presents Michael Steele's response

Michael Steele's Rap Battle Responsecomedycentral.com

The Economy is Sooooooo Bad That.......

Congress says they are looking into this Bernard Madoff scandal. So, the guy that made $50 billion disappear is being investigated by the people who made $750 billion disappear.

via the Blog Desertpeace
(another terrific site for our favorites)

and here's a few more gems from the site:

The Economy is Sooooooo Bad That......

CEO’s are now playing miniature golf.

Even people who have nothing to do with the Obama administration aren’t paying their taxes.

Hotwheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM.

Obama met with small businesses to discuss the Stimulus Package: GE, Pfeizer and Citigroup.

PETA serves chicken wings at their meetings

McDonalds is selling the 1/4- ouncer.

People in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s
names.

A truck of Americans got caught sneaking into Mexico ..

The most highly-paid job is now jury duty.

Dick Cheney took his stockbroker hunting.

People in Africa are donating money to Americans.

Mothers in Ethiopia are telling their kids, “finish your plate, do you know how many kids are starving in the US ?”

Motel Six wont leave the light on.

The Mafia is laying off judges.

Undersea Volcano Erupts Near Tonga -- YIKES!

Tonga, a 170-island archipelago about halfway between Australia and Tahiti, is part of the Pacific "ring of fire" — an arc of earthquake and volcanic zones stretching from Chile in South America through Alaska and down through Vanuatu to Tonga.




The volcano began erupting on Monday and ejected so much lava that by Wednesday it had formed the island about seven miles off the coast of Tongatapu, the main island of Tonga. Satellite pictures revealed the new island still shrouded by smoke, and a huge raft of pumice floating about two miles north of the eruption.


Last night the island was rocked by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake, causing the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre to issue a warning for neighbouring islands: “This tsunami may have been destructive along coastlines of the region near the earthquake epicentre. Authorities in the region should take appropriate action in response to this possibility.” There were no reports of any damage or casualties on Tonga’s main island and the alert was later cancelled.

Professor Simon Turner, a geochemist at Macquarie University in Sydney, warned that if the volcano continued to erupt it had the potential to be devastating: “Underwater volcanoes can be violent, and have a strong climatic effect. This one isn’t getting into the stratosphere yet but as it continues to grow that is a possibility.”

The island is likely to last several months or even a few years, but will eventually be eroded away by the waves.














More Photos here via boston.com

Something to boil your blood this lovely spring morning

Treasury Department admits pushing for bonus loophole
Update from CNN -- 459PM ET: (CNN) --"Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told CNN Thursday his department asked Sen. Chris Dodd to include a loophole in the stimulus bill that allowed bailed-out insurance giant American International Group to keep its bonuses.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving...

Palin rejects federal stimulus money
"We are not requesting funds intended to just grow government. We are not requesting more money for normal day-to-day operations of government as part of this economic stimulus package. In essence we say no to operating funds for more positions in government,” Palin said.

The biggest single chunk of stimulus money that Palin is turning down is $160 million for education. There’s also $17 million in Department of Labor funds (vocational rehabilitation services, unemployment services, etc.), about $9 million for Health and Social Services and about $7 million for Public Safety. The full list and the specifics aren’t available from the governor’s budget department yet.
Governors who think they have a shot at the presidency in 2012 are interfering with warding off a depression for politics sake. In 4 years there may not be a constituency left. Silly knuckleheads.

Rule One of Fight Club

You never, EVER, talk about Fight Club.

Well, apparently, someone has talked.

If the investigation pans out and this is true, it marks a barbaric new low even for the Texas school system - a system already mired in anti-science Luddism that threatens to create entire generations of stupid people.

One commentator said that things like this don't happen - at least, not in school.

But kids will fight. What better way to have them settle their differences by having them beat each other's brains out in a steel cage for the delectation of the staff?

If it's true, my next question is whether there were any bets laid on the contests.

It's another indication of the cultural acceptance of violence in the United States. A few years ago, the correctional staff at the Pelican Bay prison in California arranged one-on-one gladiator matches in the recreation yard between gang members.

One also has to wonder what else was going on at this school (apart from the cheating scandals that led to this revelation).

Wednesday, March 18

The Stimulus for Dummies – or how the little guy makes out!

Federal stimulus has tax credits for the little guy, gal
Taking a cut
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
By Bill Toland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



As tax season heads into its home stretch, here's what is -- or could be -- coming your way:
• You should be getting a tax credit in your paychecks, starting April 1 at the latest. It's called the Making Work Pay Credit, and it provides up to $400 per person or $800 for couples filing jointly. If you make less than $75,000 (or less than $150,000 per couple filing jointly) you should get the full credit, an extra $10 or $20 in your pay each week. Eligible retirees and seniors can get a one-time $250 payment (in late May, probably).


WOW! That extra $10 a week in any family’s only working paycheck will probably mean the difference between life or death…or whether it will go toward the 9 to 14% increase on prices at Wal-Mart this year or even higher percentages at other stores! And the really swell part of this good news is that it looks like that extra money will be taxable income!

• First-time home buyers get the biggest bonus of all, up to $8,000 in "free money," Mr. Williams said. The new home buyer's credit replaces the old one -- which was $7,500, and had to be repaid over time -- with one that doesn't have to be repaid as long as the buyer stays in the home for three or more years. The catch? You have to make less than $75,000 (or $150,000 for a couple) to receive the full credit, you mustn't have owned a home in the last three years and the home must be purchased between Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2009.

Well, for those of us who were stupid enough to buy a house when we were younger, say, during Carter or Ronnie’s regime, instead of waiting for these bad times and are paying it off now or have it paid off, that really helps us…how?

• If that same home needs new appliances and windows, you're in luck. The costs associated with energy efficiency upgrades in your primary residence -- a new water heater, furnace or new windows, for example -- are tax deductible, with a maximum credit of $1,500. That's not just for first-time home buyers, either.

HooBoy , Natasha! A new water heater is around $400! Just about takes care of that taxable $520 this wonderful stimulus package is handing me to forget about AIG. (The windows and furnace will have to wait until 2010 and 2011!)


• Seniors looking into a "reverse mortgage" will find that the limits on these loans have been increased by 50 percent through 2009.



Reverse Mortgage Calculator

What a bonanza for seniors! Reverse mortgages sound really swell or downright nasty depending on who you listen to. Go to the above site for more information on reverse mortgages (after all, your tax dollars are paying for it) and use the calculator they have set up. Then try to go to sleep tonight.

If you happen to be just 62 and have a home worth $100,000, you might get about $45,000 provided you don’t owe back taxes and don’t need major repairs to your home (see the bullshit above so you can pay for those repairs!). But if you’re 72 and your house is just peachy fine, you could get $52,000 and the really lucky 80 year olds might get $63,000! Sounds wonderful. The catch? That’s the maximum you can get! Piss off a banker or look like you need the money and you’ll probably get less. It’s really up to them! Ain’t that so cool? Oh, you have to pay interest on it if you get it whether you use it or not. You have to pay it back if you move. You have to pay it back if you sell the house. But the good news is if you die, your kids get to pay it back! I can hardly wait! That’ll teach those ingrates for not eating all their Brussels Sprouts when they were kids!

• In the market for a new car? The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 included a tax credit that could save you a few hundred dollars. The deduction applies to the first $49,500 of the vehicle's sale price, and applies to only new cars. The credit applies to new cars purchased through the end of this year. As with most of these credits, you won't see the car credit right away, but when you file your federal tax return in 2010.

Of course, since many have lost a lot of retirement money and pensions, that new car just might not get bought. So, when you see the 20 and 30 somethings in their shiny new, bright green pleasure machines, remember you helped them afford it. Just give the Pinto another year or two.

• The stimulus plan also helps if you have children in college. The Hope scholarship tax credit, which was worth a maximum of $1,800 during freshman and sophomore years, has been replaced with a new credit worth up to $2,500 this year and next. Better yet, it's good for students in their junior or senior years, so even if you thought you maxed out on your Hope credit during your child's first two years of college, this credit might still be available to you. Also, the government is raising the maximum on the Pell Grant, to $5,350 in the 2009-10 school year, and $5,500 the year after.

In case you were again foolish and had kids early, got big loans to put them through school and are paying them off right now, you’re actually shit out of luck. Of course, you could always go back to school yourself, provided you can juggle at least one job, get there in that old clunker you have, and not worry about rain coming in through windows older than you are or a roof that leaks like Strom Thurman’s bladder. So basically, this one’s no good for most of us either.

• If you've recently lost your job, you'll notice several small tweaks to unemployment benefits. First, the first $2,400 in unemployment benefits received this year are now exempt from federal taxation, which translates into a few hundred extra dollars. Those same benefits will be increased by $25 a week, and you can receive them for a longer period, thanks to an extension in the benefits period.

Let’s see… you lost your job and have little income because we all know unemployment makes us wealthy. And since you can’t afford to buy that new water heater (since you have no bread), and have no job, the extra taxable $10 a week you won’t be getting ain’t gonna help, ‘cause you ain’t getting it! You already have a house or are paying it off, if you can find the money, and the property taxes and school taxes aren’t going down so the option of going back to school may not be an easy one. You went to school when? Can you find your transcripts? Do you remember how to read and write? Is your school still around? It’ll be tougher than you think getting into school while paying for the taxes, mortgage, repairs to the house and that old car just may outlast you. Yep! That stimulus really is helping…someone.

You'll also get a break on health insurance via a 65 percent federal subsidy on benefits secured through the COBRA program. COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) allows workers to keep the same health coverage they had when they were employed.

Finally a break! A subsidy on insurance you already can’t afford since you lost your job, can’t take advantage of house repairs because you aren’t getting the $10 a week windfall from the job some foreigner took. And most colleges now require some kind of insurance when you attend so screw that!

So looking at it from a practical standpoint, to get anything from this stimulus if you’re a little guy or gal:

If you still have a job but only one works in the family, you get an extra $10.00 a week that will be taxable income. And that boils down to about $6.00 clear per week or $350 a year. Bye bye water heater.
If you just bought a home because you have a job that gives you that extra $10.00 per week (and you’re under 50 and are lucky if your spouse works too…you just doubled your bonus!), you get a nice tax break. And you can buy that espresso machine you and your honey so desire and get a tax write off on it, too! (I wonder if marital aids are considered appliances?)

Now that you have that extra $20 per week, go out and buy that new ‘vette! But make sure you get the one that’s just under the $50,000 limit so you can take advantage of the tax break.

While you’re at it, why not enroll in a college for that long wanted MBA and get the extra Pell Money and credit? Oh, you don’t have a good car, can’t afford the tuition, books or meals, are paying taxes and have no job. Sorry ‘bout that, chief!

But if you lose your job, not to worry! You get extra cash a little while longer so you can get all those wonderful things in the stimulus package. A little circular logic here?

You're eligible for the subsidy if you lost your job after Sept. 1, 2008, or lose it this year.

Oops! If you’re already unemployed too fucking bad, isn’t it?

The best bet however is to get a reverse mortgage, provided your home is in great shape and paid off and don’t need new appliances or repairs, etc., etc. Then you might get about 40% of the value of your home…at a rate, of course. If you’re 62, it may not be worth it; 72…bigger bucks, wow! But the best way to beat this stimulus is to get that reverse mortgage by kissing some banker’s ass, be in your 80s with a paid off house; paid up taxes; no repairs needed to the house; have a decent car; work as a Wal-Mart greeter for minimum wage to get that extra $10 per week; be on Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security and go to night school to get your degree in neurosurgery!

Or just get the reverse mortgage (at at least 80), give it to anyone you want..then die. That’ll teach those assholes in Washington!

Yes sir! That’s change this dummy can believe in.

Adam Lambert Redux



OK folks – so what do you think of THIS performance? I’ll give you a bit of a heads up: you REALLY need to listen to this more than once. Seriously. It’s THAT different. Johnny Cash’s version of this song is so ingrained in the general zeitgeist – hearing anything else can be a bit of a shock. You have to get past that to truly watch and listen.

Now I’ll be frank – I really like it. Though not a reality show fan (I tend towards the arts shows – Idol, Project Runway, So You Think You Can Dance) – I’ve been following this particular performers appearances. His name is Adam Lambert – and he’s the freshest breath of air I’ve seen/heard in a long time. But he’s polarizing. His MySpace (or is it Facebook?) page hints that he’s bisexual – but most simply assume he’s gay (some really interesting photo’s surfaced of him attending the Burning Man Festival in Arizona).

Now - I don’t care who he sleeps with (though the fantasy possibilities are truly intriguing). It’s his voice and balls to the wall performance style that’s really hooked me. Adam’s what you call a countertenor – rare under any circumstances – almost unheard of in popular music. Both Freddie Mercury and Steve Perry were countertenors – though they seldom used that part of their upper register – whereas that seems to be Adam’s comfort zone. It’s not a falsetto like Michael Jackson uses. This is his ‘head’ or primary voice (from what I can tell) – and he has a range that rivals Mariah Carey.

Anywho – have a listen and tell me what you think. Would you pay to hear/see him? Does the whole Ziggy Stardust, Velvet Goldmine thing attract you – or does it belong back in 1975?

Oh - and one other thing. I am sick unto death of the homophobic maunderings endemic to this show. Seacrest? Shut the fuck up, already. I’d tell Simon to shut up – but he’s too transfixed on his own sexuality to notice much else (those recent A-Rod pics could easily have been Simon playing at home with his mirror). So back off, already. Most of us out here have absolutely had it. And insinuating Randy Travis carries his own homophobic leanings was just you being an asshole. Don’t tell me you didn’t know there have been rumors about Travis for years. Your nasty-ass remarks only brought them all up again. So shut it, boyo. Trade nasties with Simon on your own time.

Waters of March

From Wiki: "Waters of March" (Portuguese: "Águas de Março") is a Brazilian song composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim.

In 2001, "Águas de Março" was named as the all-time best Brazilian song in a poll of more than 200 Brazilian journalists, musicians and other artists conducted by Brazil's leading daily newspaper, Folha de São Paulo.
The song lyrics, originally written in Portuguese, do not tell a story, but rather present a series of images that form a collage.

The inspiration for "Águas de Março" comes from Rio de Janeiro's rainiest month. March is typically marked by sudden storms with heavy rains and strong winds that cause flooding in many places around the city. The lyrics and the music have a constant downward progression much like the water torrent from those rains flowing in the gutters, which typically would carry sticks, stones, bits of glass, and almost everything and anything.

All these details swirling around the central metaphor of "the waters of March" can give the impression of the passing of daily life and its continual, inevitable progression towards death, just as the rains of March mark the end of a Brazilian summer. Both sets of lyrics speak of the water being "the promise of life," perhaps allowing for other, more life-affirming interpretations, and the English contains the additional phrases "the joy in your heart" and the "promise of spring," a seasonal reference that would be more relevant to most of the English-speaking world.


Versions of the song have been recorded by at least 80 artists since it was written in the early 70's.

Here is this song as sung by Art Garfunkel on his solo album "Breakaway" (1975).






It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
~Mark Twain

Tuesday, March 17

It's not in the MSM yet:

AIG Offices patrolled by Armed Guards

But it is the Macedonian International News Agency:
A tidal wave of public outrage over bonus payments swamped American International Group yesterday. Hired guards stood watch outside the suburban Connecticut offices of AIG Financial Products, the division whose exotic derivatives brought the insurance giant to the brink of collapse last year. Inside, death threats and angry letters flooded e-mail inboxes. Irate callers lit up the phone lines. Senior managers submitted their resignations. Some employees didn't show up at all.

"It's a mob effect," one senior executive said. "It's putting people's lives in danger."

Politicians and the public spent yesterday demanding that AIG rescind payouts that they said rewarded recklessness and greed at a company being bailed out with $170 billion in taxpayer funds. But company officials contend that the uproar is scaring away the very employees who understand AIG Financial Products' complex trades and who are trying to dismantle the division before it further endangers the world's economy.

"It's going to blow up," said a senior Financial Products manager, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the company. "I have a horrible, horrible, horrible feeling that this is going to end badly."


More at the link. And thanks to the folks at Signs-of-The-Times with their "Grand Theft Economics" section.

(UPDATE): "Obama pulled in $150,000 from AIG"
The Australian article begins: "BARACK Obama and New York senator Charles Schumer, leading the charge to recoup $US165million ($250million) in bonuses paid to employees of AIG, received nearly $US150,000 in campaign donations from the bailed-out US insurance giant.

"As the White House attempted to contain a furore that threatens to damage the President's standing, New York newspaper Newsday reported that AIG donated $US101,332 to the US President last year, second only to Chris Dodd, chairman of the Senate banking committee, who received $US103,100.

"Senator Schumer, who proposed legislation yesterday that would claw the bonuses back through a special tax of almost 100per cent on the payments, has received $US38,500 from AIG since 2000."


(UPDATE II): The Grift that keeps on Grooving: Goldman Offers Loans to Stretched Employees

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

(Faith an' begorr, here's a tip o' th' hat to Netherwulf over at FurAffinity!)

Monday, March 16

Why I Will Not Twitter

In many cases, I'm very much stuck in the past.

I refuse to give up my stereo, and the collection of vinyl LPs that I've had since I was a child.

I refuse to part with my cassette recorder.

I have a cell phone, that I use to - gasp! - actually transmit and receive phone calls. It doesn't have a camera, a keyboard, or a working Internet link. It's just a phone (and I barely tolerate it).

And I don't use Bluetooth, either. A long time ago if you saw someone talking to themselves you would think they were crazy. Now you have to look them over for the hands-free cell phone riding in their ear to make sure if they're not insane or just ordering a pizza.

In other cases, I'm future-oriented, but I know that some things just are not useful.

Like Twitter.

Americans have the same general attention span as mayflies now - is it right to further divorce people from the idea that it might, just might, be more beneficial to keep one's thoughts to oneself? That it isn't truly necessary to document every single thought that flits through a mind every minute of every day?

Here's an example:

Voice in my Head #1: I need to get up from my nap.

Voice in my Head #2: Probably.

VIMH #3: I like ice cream.

VIMHs 1 and 2: Good call!

This was an actual internal conversation this afternoon. I ask you, would you want to see and read shit like that?

I wouldn't.

And Twitter is also a distraction. Last month the President of the United States addressed a joint session of the Congress to talk about the economic Augean Stables that he inherited from George Bush, and how big a river of money was required to wash that filthy, shit-stained edifice clean.

(Nice metaphor.)

But instead of paying attention to what he was saying, members of the House and Senate - presumably mature, intelligent adults - were raptly navel-gazing with the help of their Twitters and talking of complete and utter irrelevancies. And I'm talking both sides of the aisle, folks.

There's no need for Twitter.

Blogging is bad enough.

Dumb Crooks on Parade!

Well, we have had our share of stupid criminals over the past week, ranging from AIG executives to Bernie Madoff to this dumbass:

Man Bolts Antlers to Dead Doe

Yes, you saw it right. A hunter killed a doe out of season, and tried to pass it off as a buck by sticking antlers on its head. Granted, this was back in November, but he finally got sentenced to jail time and will lose his license rights for three years.

And then we have this:

Man Tries to Rob Tae Kwon Do Studio

Real smart move there, buddy. Now, the article states that the school's master held the guy by the neck until the police arrived, but I'm certain that the would-be robber was introduced to the wall or floor at least once.

And finally, in our "Things That Make You Go OUCH!" Department, we have this:

Woman Injured by Sex Toy

In the interest of clarification, the 'sex toy' in question was quite unquestionably a dildo. There's a website advertising a variety of sex machines that include the use of a reciprocating saw, or "sawzall,' being fitted with a dildo to give the lucky lady (or guy, if that's what you prefer) the rogering of a lifetime.

But there's a caveat.

You don't stick the dildo onto the saw blade.

For this poor woman's boyfriend - you don't stick the dildo onto the saw blade, you Jackass!

If this guy gets charged with anything it should also include at least one count of Abject Stupidity. Hell, give the woman one as well; she let him do it.

And now a couple jokes:

1. What do you call a priest who wears nun's clothes? A transistor.

2. What do you call a lawyer gone bad? "Senator."

HR 875 -- FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT OF 2009

Here's the poop from MyLeftNutmeg

The Bill is sponsored by Rosa DeLauro

DeLauro's husband is political strategist Stan Greenberg, and one of Greenberg's corporate clients is Monsanto.
(not that I'm trying to connect any dots or anything.....)

Maybe our fellow blogger sara could shed some light on this story.

Saturday, March 14

"Low-energy light bulbs can cause rashes and swelling to sensitive skin, warn experts"

British Daily Mail:

The phasing out of traditional light bulbs could cause misery for thousands who have light-sensitive skin disorders, medical experts warned yesterday.
Dr Robert Sarkany said some low-energy bulbs gave vulnerable people painful rashes and swelling.
He backed calls by patient groups for the Government to give medical exemptions for those at risk.
The warning comes as British shops start to clear their shelves of traditional bulbs, which are being replaced by more energy-efficient versions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

More plus comments at link.

(ADD/EDIT/UPDATE): And in partial response to Father Tyme's statements in the comments below from Scientific American:
A Medical Madoff: Anesthesiologist Faked Data in 21 Studies
(Article begins): "Over the past 12 years, anesthesiologist Scott Reuben revolutionized the way physicians provide pain relief to patients undergoing orthopedic surgery for everything from torn ligaments to worn-out hips. Now, the profession is in shambles after an investigation revealed that at least 21 of Reuben's papers were pure fiction, and that the pain drugs he touted in them may have slowed postoperative healing.

"We are talking about millions of patients worldwide, where postoperative pain management has been affected by the research findings of Dr. Reuben," says Steven Shafer, editor in chief of the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, which published 10 of Reuben's fraudulent papers."

You're Not Frigid--The Other Woman---Lies We Tell Ourselves---The Truth Phone

Before I commence to stirring the shit pot, let me just say, that whole "She's frigid" thing fries me. I hear guys saying that crap all the time. Once, me and the Only Man I Ever Really Loved were just minding our own bidness in a local drinking establishment and this totally casual-acquaintance guy happened by and struck up a conversation. We exchanged the usual surface-level comments, one of which was, "Where's Cathy?" That was the casual-acquaintance guy's wife. The husband launched into this whole deal about how, man, has he ever got it made. He's got this swell free time on account of ole' Cathy just looooves to be busy, and so she was washing the cars and cutting the grass and cooking and cleaning and all manner of crap----for him---while he was out drinking with his worthless buddies. He ended the proclamation with, "Yeah, if she still liked sex, she'd be perfect!" And with that, he sauntered off, leaving the two of us sitting there alone. I mean, all we wanted to know was whether Cathy was in the next room or what, and instead we got this whole litany of her activities, which did not any longer according to him, include sex. Way too much information.

We talked about it betwext ourselves for some time, The Only Man I Ever Really Loved and I, and soon we fell to describing what all we wished we'd said to him in response, "Boy, that Cathy---she's a nine-day wonder, doing all that stuff, ain't she?" I was wishing I'd said, "Now, me, I am one lazy-ass woman....I won't and don't do nothin' around the house. This man waits on me hand and foot, carries my ass around on a little pillow 24/7, but man alive, I'm telling you, I'll put out in a New York minute. So you tell me, which one of ya'll is the happier, you reckon?" The Only Man I Ever Really Loved fell out of the booth, squirting beer out his nose. He swore he'd go drag the guy back in here if I'd swear I would actually say it to him. He finally accepted that it was just one of those things that sounds good after the fact and that I had no intention of saying it out loud to another living soul besides him. Then he told me what he wished he'd said to the guy: "Don't kid yourself, man, she's just not interested in having sex with you." Frigid, my ass.

Now, I'll grant you that the sex drying up may be one of the chief reasons divorce happens. It is one of those chicken/egg situations. Here's what I think happens. She marries him, thinking he'll change (and she's convinced that she can make it happen), but he doesn't. He married her thinking she won't change, but she does. He won't do any of the stuff that she though she could trick, force, or manipulate him into doing after the "I do's" settle in. So she gets pissed off and starts nagging and pretty soon he quits doing even the stuff he had been doing right, and she gets more pissed off and ceases to be in the mood for sex---with him-----ever. And then he gets pissed off and does even less, if that can be said of a live person. The bottom line is: Ain't nobody in that house gettin'any, and ain't nobody happy about it. And lemme tell you what, if they ain't gettin' it at home, they gonna get some somewhere from some-body. I ain't seen too many who will do without for too terribly long. And this is not a good thing for marriage, although it keeps divorce attorney's kids in good schools. So the saga continues. Enter the Other Woman.

Now, we can all see how it happens that the Other Woman gets into the picture. The mystery to me is this: Given such a situation, why is it that the women will blame each other? I have seen grow'd women physically attack other women with whom their piece-of-shit man has been indulging in all manner of outside-the-home fucking. Hear me on this now. It is not the other woman's fault that your man is a lying, cheating sackashit. He is what he is 'cause it's what he wants to be. I mean, think about it. When was the last time you were able to get a man to do something he didn't want to do? Let me answer that for you----never. If he wants to cheat, he will find somebody to do it with, and he doesn't much care who. And by the same token, if he doesn't want to, no woman on earth could persuade him, by any means, to do it.

While you're being all indignant and outraged at this other woman, let me reiterate that your lying, cheating sackashit did not come to her singing your praises and telling what a happily married man he was, only to have her set her sights on him and decide right then and there that she was going to steal this prize away from you. Naw. What happened was, just like the casual acquaintance we talked to in that bar, he came around telling her a big tale of woe about how y'all haven't slept together since the last baby was born, and that was five years ago, and that child was just a drunken accident that somehow happened during the last "mercy fuck" he gave you before y'all were gonna file for divorce, and he's pretty sure, actually, that you're a lesbian and he's just been staying with you because he loooooves his children sooooo much that he just can't hardly stand to be away from'em for a single solitary second, except for, of course, this special happy hour he takes for himself every afternoon from four till nine, just to, you know, clear his head, before he goes home to you, his screaming bitchcuntwhorefromhellpossiblelesbian wife.

That's what he told her, and there' is no telling how many other women he told that to before he got one to sit still for it. Trust me, if a guy wants Strange, he'll say anything, do anything to get it, and he doesn't particularly care who he hurts in the process---not you and certainly not the Strange. He cares only about himself and what himself wants at any given moment, and this is not what you'd call news.

If you are involved with this man, your problem is not another woman. (And if you somehow succeeded in running off that woman, there'll only be another one along soon.) Your problem is him.
And, more important, you are the one part of this equation that you can absolutely do something about----the only part, as a matter of fact. You need to examine what it is about you that makes you think you love and want to be with a man who clearly shares your low opinion of yourself. Perhaps that's what y'all have in common---you both think you don't deserve any better.

Maybe you've been living with his crazy-making behavior for so long, it doesn't even seem crazy to you anymore because you are completely insane. But you'll be relieved to know there is a cure. Just step back and take the blinders off your own eyes and ask yourself:
What really exists in this relationship that is making my life better? I forcefully emphasize the "really exists" because you cannot actually be in a relationship with some else's potential. As in, "Well, if he would only quit drinking, everything would be fine," or "if only that other woman would leave him alone, he'd want me again," or "if he didn't spend more than we both make on racing tires and cashmere socks, I might be able to get my teeth cleaned."

None of that is ever gonna happen, but if it miraculously does, it won't be because you were silent and long-suffering. And tell me please, why would anybody aspire to be "long-suffering"? I'd say go for "short-suffering" any day. After, all, it's suffering and I'm against the prolonging of it, whether it's mine or somebody else's. Well, that's not entirely true; there are some folks I could, gleefully, watch suffer for days on end. But I am absolutely 100 percent against the suffering of myself and those I care about, and I welcome any shortcuts toward ending it.

And while we're at it, let's talk about another mystifying piece of "logic." When Silly Girl, against her better judgment and the advice of all her friends and family, falls for and gets into a relationship with a man she knows form the get-go is involved with somebody else----or even married to'em-----how come she is invariably stunned and hurt to the core of her silly being when she discovers that he has cheated on her? And the wife or girlfriend is equally shocked and appalled, and dismayed that she also has been cheated on by this sorry ass. I mean, this has only been going on since penises were invented---how is it possible that anybody is still surprised by their behavior?

I used to be a regular customer of Sharper Image, and I loved to peruse their catalogs for gadget I can could no longer live without. They used to carry an intriguing item called The Truth Phone, which they claimed could detect lies emanation from your callers. The phone was designed to somehow discern whether the person on the other end was issuing any whoppers, fibs, and little white lies, as well as any subtle prevarication, mendacity, and/or falsehood. It would light up a certain way in response to the truth and light up in other ways for various levels of untruth. Unfortunately, I procrastinated in ordering this invaluable tool, and when I tried to get my very own Truth Phone, it was no longer available. So now we have to improvise.

Let's just imagine that your best friend has a Truth Phone, and it really does work. You call her up and tell her everything that's been going wrong in your marriage, along with all your justifications for staying. How much of what you tell her is going to register as "truth" and how much of it will register as "lies"? Lies you are telling yourself that are keeping you stuck in your misery. It's bad enough to have someone else lie to you, but if you can't trust yourself to tell you The Truth, your situation is indeed dire. You can't deal with a situation if you won't even acknowledge what the situation really is. And that's no lie.

Friday, March 13

OFSP

Kitty Porn




An additional piece of porn...
for your caption edification!


Stewart vs. Cramer -- ONCE AGAIN, Thank you Jon... we the people are truely "indebted" to you.














Another grateful commenter (over at huffpo's post on this -- sorry I can't find their name now) says it best:

The founding principle of America -- in a direct repudiation of the Europe our Founders were escaping --is really that those with access, resources, assets, education, connection and influence (or imaginary divinity) , can't use those tools to purposely -- or forever -- disadvantage those without such tools: That eventually the little people will get a chance to rise beyond their situation on merit, hard work and a society that actually values fairness. And that the government would play a role in making sure this was possible and would resist on the little guy's behalf the re-formation of old, aristocratic behaviors and collusion. 

Good job Stewart, it's a tragedy it fell to you to do the job...because not only did the media fail but the government -- based on Breakfast in America/Contract on America sloganeering simply left the playing field -- and, hence, the citizenry -- unprotected.